Liz’s Review: ‘RED KNOT’- Do you know where your marriage is?


Marriage is difficult. I got married 5 days before my husband started business school at Yale. He was on the Investment Banking track. What that meant in my world was that I wouldn’t see my husband for the next 4 months as he prepared for innumerable interviews, events, and attended the accelerated course load that comes with an ivy league school. Even after 6 years together, I had to become a whole new woman. In the new film RED KNOT, a young, newly married couple take this idea to the extreme as they honeymoon on a research vessel near Antarctica.


Peter is a writer who is doing a handful of articles on the “songs” of whales. Chloe is his doting and submissive wife. The two share a tiny cabin aboard the ship RED KNOT. As they sail the open arctic ocean, Peter becomes more and more consumed with his career image and Chloe is left in the wake. From the outside, it is a relatively formulaic progression. We’ve seen it a million times and tried to warn friends, but unless you are in it, unless you are experiencing it, advice and opinions fall on deaf ears.


The breakdown is as such: New couple learning to become as one unit. Separation leads to secrets, then resentment and finally abandonment. Peter (Vincent Kartheiser) and Chloe (Olivia Thirlby) search attention elsewhere and one of them turns to their inner resiliency. Who are they as individuals? What happens when things aren’t picture perfect? Who breaks first?


Kartheiser, as per usual, is a dream on screen. His strong and yet never overwhelming presence is a catalyst for this relationship. Thirlby is elegant. Her vulnerability is effortless. The quiet moments in this film speak volumes. The cinematography is so successful in expressing the scenic vastness of the region as well as the emotional between Chloe and Peter. The diary entries scattered into the narrative are a glorious breath of fresh air in style.


RED KNOT is a film that will resonate with anyone in a marriage. Frankly, anyone who has been in a relationship where isolation gets the better of them. See RED KNOT. It is a beautiful portrait of two people just trying to make themselves happy.

Winner, FIPRESCI Grand Jury Prize, Best New American Cinema,
Seattle International Film Festival 2014
Opening in NYC on Friday, December 5 at IFC Center
RED KNOT is a modern exploration of love, isolation and the inescapable vastness of the natural world. Peter (Vincent Kartheiser, “Mad Men”) and Chloe (Olivia Thirlby, JUNO) are a young married couple who jump at the chance to satisfy their wanderlust by taking a belated honeymoon aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica. As they travel further south, the relationship, like the icy landscapes that surround them, begins to crack and shift, exposing the poles within each of us and the dangerous fault lines that lay just below the surface.
Director: Scott Cohen
Cast: Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Thirlby, Billy Campbell, Lisa Harrow, Roger Payne
Country of Production: USA, Antarctica, Argentina
Format: DCP
Run Time: 81 minutes

(PS– In case anyone is concerned, I am still very happily married to my husband. I don’t need any emails from our readers, that is unless you’d just like to say “Hi” or have a similar story to share. That, I strongly encourage! What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. We grew together and overcame the shift in out relationship. Yes it took work.That’s the definition of a great marriage.) 

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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